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A Hanukkah Message From Managing Director Cynthia Friedman

Dear reader,

We hope you are finding time to gather with friends and loved ones during these difficult days. We’re grateful to be a part of your community, and, as we did last year, we want to celebrate Hanukkah by introducing you to some of the writers, editors, and organizational staff who make Jewish Currents what it is. Each night, you’ll meet a different member of our team, who will reflect on work they found particularly meaningful from the last year.

The support of this staff is only made possible through the generosity of you, our readers. We don’t take advertisements or have an angel-investor, and we make all our work accessible to all. So it’s your engagement and support that makes the labor of our writers, editors, artists, and fact-checkers possible, and allows us to continue exploring the issues and questions most vital to you. We’re proud to shine a light on the people behind Jewish Currents, to share with you who and what you are supporting when you read, listen, donate, and subscribe to our magazine.

I’m Cynthia Friedman, Jewish Currents’s managing director. Next month will mark four years that I’ve been running our operations, a role I have loved and taken great pride in. I’ve come to perceive a sort of paradox at the heart of this behind-the-scenes work: When we’re most effective, no one else notices what we’re doing—no missed payroll, no last-minute scrambling to find chairs for events, no merch or magazines delivered late. So, I’m happy to take this opportunity to briefly pull back the curtain and share one aspect of what JC operations has been up to this year.

In late 2022, we embarked on an ambitious project: moving all of our data into one place. Since the magazine’s relaunch in 2018, we’ve been slowly amassing digital platforms to handle print subscriptions, newsletter subscriptions, donations, event sign-ups, and purchases from our shop. Even though (as many of you can attest) there is significant overlap between those groups, each of these data sets was stored separately, making it time-consuming or impossible to ascertain important trends. We couldn’t easily tell, for example, how many people subscribed to both the newsletter and the print magazine, or whether someone was a donor who also regularly attended our events.

The process of migrating onto the new database required both concerted attention to structural considerations—finding a program that fit our scale and budget, onboarding onto the new platform’s interface, and so on—and enormous care for details, like how to sort out duplicate accounts and how to mitigate the risk of losing data during the migration. The most significant aspect of successfully pulling off the transfer involved preparing our subscriber data. With the support of fellow “little magazine” n+1, this spring we were able to transition from our previous system of outsourcing issue fulfillment and the storage of subscriber data, to taking care of both of these tasks in-house. This move has transformed our ability to easily access information about our readers, understand the interactions between various facets of our project, and envision possibilities for growth. A major impetus for executing this switch was to roll out our membership program which, after many months of preparation, we have finally—excitingly—launched.

Over the remaining days of Hanukkah, you’ll hear from our writers and editors about the work that we put out into the world. I feel privileged to support that work, which I see as a crucial contribution toward cultivating the intellectual and analytical grounds of the Jewish left and the left more broadly—and I’m grateful to be part of a magazine that recognizes that organizational labor is as vital to the sustainability and success of our project as the content that it enables.

To continue building and maintaining our organizational infrastructure, we rely on our supporters and subscribers. Please consider sustaining our work by making a donation, becoming a member, or subscribing to Jewish Currents today. Our subscriptions also make great gifts.

As a small token of our appreciation for our community of readers and contributors, we are also offering newsletter subscribers 30% off of anything in our online store if you use the code GELT2023. Shop Jewish Currents gifts—including our new line of merch!—for your friends and family, or to treat yourself.

Thank you for your continued support. We wish you a restorative and meaningful holiday season.